Three Ways To Turn Your Customers into Experts


Bad Photos

This is a rather bad photo that I took at a wedding one day. Normally, I don’t show people my bad photos.

And that’s my point. We don’t normally show people our bad work. And equally no one is going to say ‘Hey! What camera are you using?” or if they are, they’re going to put it on their blacklist of ‘Don’t buy that camera, it’s clearly not good.’

In contrast, if I’d taken the best wedding photo ever, then I’d be showing and telling everyone! I’d tweet about it, I’d put it on Facebook, I’d get it printed and framed, I’d put it on Flickr and may even iStockphoto. And, I’d bet money you’d say to me ‘Great photo, what camera are you using?’ This is a natural human thing to say because what you’re really saying is ‘I want to take great photos just like you and your camera may be the answer I need.’

How to Sell More Cameras

Now, imagine you sold cameras. You’d want people to be taking great photos, right? So, how can you assist people to get more from what it is you sell? The answer is to help your customers become experts.

The added benefit of teaching your customers to be experts is to embeds their expertise in your product. The better I can use a camera or a piece of software, the more likely I am going to stick with it over time rather than buy the next shiny object that comes along.

Here’s three ways you can make your customers experts:

1 Lessons

As a camera seller who wants to help me take better photos, a simple way to do this is to provide some lessons. This could be as simple as having your staff put together some tips and suggestions. This could be presented as a printed book, a free ebook from your website, articles on your blog. And this would make sense a great way to attract people to your store – because you’ve demonstrated your own expertise!
Another way to do this is through video. Today, the place to go to learn how to do almost anything is YouTube. And you may find you don’t have to create the raw material for the how-to lessons, you might merely list a series of great videos that your customers can click on to. Easy-peasy!
Similarly, look for people who are already blogging about your product area. What better way to endorse and support your fans than by supporting their efforts online.

2 Service

Taking one step further from a few tips and tricks you might consider providing a full-blown course. And in the process add to your product selling business a service for turning your customers into experts. This could be a free service. Some computer stores will provide training as a free bonus for purchasing. A neat value add. Taking this further, why not charge for the service as well. It could provide a useful revenue stream. Apple have done this very successfully through their Genius Bar at their Apple stores. This is one of the reasons Apple have one of the highest sales to floor area of any retail store in the world. By teaching users how to get better value from their Macs in todays connected and sharing world, customers are happily sharing their content online and in the process advertising their computers. Very clever!

3 Joint Venture

A third way of doing this is to stick to your knitting and let someone else provide the educational service. This classic partnership or joint venture makes particular sense for a provider of some hardware or a product. One example of this is the Australian accounting software creator MYOB. MYOB is a sophisticated piece of software. And a whole industry of instructors and trainers have flourished around teaching small business owners how to get the most out of their software.


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